More than 3,100 Houston-Galveston area youth spend weekend celebrating faith
July 31, 2015
HOUSTON – We may think of teenagers spending their summer weekends shopping, watching movies, playing video games or spending time online – but for more than 3,100 area youth, this weekend will be different. From Friday, July 31 through Sunday, Aug. 2, participating high school students will be talking about and celebrating their faith at the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston’s 59th Archdiocesan Youth Conference (AYC).
For the very first time, the general sessions and Masses for the conference will take place at the George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida De Las Americas, Houston. In recent years, the assemblies had been held in the adjacent Hilton Americas-Houston.
“I am very excited about the momentum of AYC – every year it keeps growing,” said Brian K. Johnson, Director of the Archdiocesan Office of Adolescent Catechesis and Evangelization (Youth Ministry). “In fact, it is because of the increased interest and enthusiasm for this event that we had to move to a larger venue. This move allows us to reach and serve more young people who desire to have a spiritual and communal journey with more than 3,100 peers and the adults who minister to them.”
Johnson explained that the focus for this year’s AYC is “to rejuvenate the faith life of our youth, to help them get serious about life in Christ and His Church, and to learn the truth of the Gospel.”
During AYC, the country’s largest diocesan youth conference, participants are able to talk freely and openly about the challenges they face. They have the opportunity to explore their role in the Church, learn how they can develop healthy relationships with peers, adults and parents, and experience the reality of diverse cultures and faith expressions. It’s also a chance for these young people to explore issues of faith and learn how to respond to questions about Church teachings.
“The Archdiocesan Youth Conference is a graced medium through which the youth are taught to seek to be models of Christ to their peers and are challenged to live a life of faith in order to become agents of transformation of the culture,” said Daniel Cardinal DiNardo. “Our youth are not only the Church of the future, but they are the Church of today. AYC is a wonderful testament that our young people are filled with joy and zeal for Christ and the Gospel message.”
Major presenters for the weekend include Leah Darrow, a former professional model and contestant on the reality TV show, America’s Next Top Model, who now travels the country speaking about her experiences, her conversion and the virtues of modesty and chastity; Doug Brummel, a nationally-known comedian and storyteller; Matt and Stephanie Regitz; and Paul George. Plus attendees will enjoy a special concert featuring the internationally renowned Catholic music artist, Matt Maher.
Additionally, daily Mass is offered during the conference with Cardinal DiNardo presiding at the closing Mass on Sunday morning. Participants will also have the opportunity to take part in a Eucharistic Adoration.
“A constant goal I have for AYC is that it opens the door for young people to grow deeper in their relationship with Christ and that they understand this is a life-long faith journey,” said Johnson. “Along the way, they will experience peaks and valleys, but God’s grace and love for them is providential. My hope is that through AYC, young people will have the opportunity to strengthen their faith and their love of the Church. The Church of Galveston-Houston is alive and vibrant and it is an honor to walk this journey and witness faith in action among the youth that gather each year for this conference.”
For more information about AYC, visit www.archgh.org/youthministry/ayc/.